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Dept. of Health tracking new lambda variant in North Louisiana

KMSS FOX 33

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Department of Health has their eye on a new variant spreading in Louisiana.

It’s called the lambda variant, and it is traced back to the country of Peru.

Region 7 Director Dr. Martha Whyte said Louisiana is seeing small numbers of this variant so far, and it’s only been detected in North Louisiana. It is believed to have come back with vacationers from Florida.

It’s classified as a Variant of Interest and not Concern as of now.

But Dr. Whyte said what is worrisome is early studies show a mutation in the spike protein that may be resistant to the current vaccines.

“So that’s what has me most concerned is these newer studies that are coming out saying perhaps we are not protected from Lambda as well as we are from the other strains. So far we’ve been blessed that while Delta is more contagious we’re still protected and it hasn’t gotten anymore lethal. So now Lambda’s coming and it’s definitely more infectious and we may not be protected from it,” Dr. Whyte said.

Dr. Whyte stresses her sharing this information is not to promote fear-mongering, she’s just following the data, and early research is still being done to determine how bad Lambda may be.

She said these variants emerge because the bodies of unvaccinated individuals allow conditions for the virus to mutate, and many countries in the world do not have access to vaccines yet.

Dr. Whyte said vaccines create strong enough antibodies that serve as a firewall to foreign pathogens.

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